Volunteering has great benefits for you, your family, and most importantly, your community. The proper match can help you reach out to your community, gain new friends, learn new skills, protect your mental and physical health, and make you feel fulfilled and happy.

I was filling out my volunteer application form Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) when I thought of writing about organisations where people can volunteer and spend their spare time for a cause. With all the crimes happening around the world, there are still a growing number of people who are interested in humanitarian work. From community service, disaster preparedness to infrastructure development, and animal welfare, concerned and thoughtful citizens are looking for ways to do more for other people.

Volunteering connects you to other people from all walks of life. You get to connect with your community, gain new friends, and widen your network and contacts. Volunteering boosts your social and relationships skills as it pushes you to interact with different people. You learn from them and they learn from you, too.

Volunteering is teeming with benefits for your mind and body. Among its benefits is its ability to boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, and ultimately your satisfaction with life. Doing good for other people without anything in return gives a certain sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that cannot be given by other things or activities. It provides a sense of purpose or reason to your life. Dedicating your time to a cause renews or instills your life’s purpose. Volunteering may alleviate depression as it rid you of social isolation. If ever you find yourself in a rut, because of the support system you have built, surely there’ll be people to drag you out of your isolation. Lastly, volunteering keeps you fit by forcing you to move about and be physically active as you engage in different activities.

Volunteering makes you feel fulfilled and improve your well-being. If you are unsure of your passion, volunteering can help you find it. You can explore different volunteer programs to find out what you love doing and what you are passionate about. It also provides opportunities to be creative, motivated, and active. It is a great addition to your usual hobbies because you are able to help other people while helping yourself.

Your volunteering experience will depend on what you want t achieve, what you enjoy doing, and what you are willing to share and commit. When you have ascertained these things, you can decide which organization to join. You can join as many as you please as long as you’re on top of your game.

In the Philippines, there are different organizations where you can volunteer. Below is a brief list of organizations you might want to check.

Food for the Hungry, Binondo, Manila, provides education and nutrition programs to get communities out of poverty. To help, you can be an after-school tutor for children ages 7 to 13 years old. Aspiring or retired teachers, and college or older high school students may contact them through 247­4186, and www.fhphilippines.org

Habitat for Humanity, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, builds, advocates for, preserves, and restores shelter for those in need. Tag along your group of friends and volunteer at a construction site for homes or communal facilities. You may contact them through 846­2177, and www.habitat.org.ph

Philippine Red Cross, Port Area, Manila, provides life­saving services to vulnerable Filipinos. If you are healthy and enjoy being active, join your barangay’s Red Cross 143 program to become trained in community-specific disaster preparedness. You may contact them at 524­2101, and www.redcross.org.ph

World Vision Philippines, West Triangle, Quezon City, serves the poor and vulnerable through emergency response and sustainable development. Law students, writers, active users of social media can help by advocating for government policies that support children’s rights. Contact them through 374­7618, and www.worldvision.org.ph

Gawad Kalinga, Daang­Bakal, Mandaluyong City, transforms impoverished communities through presence and values formation. Students, travellers, and those in­between jobs who want to immerse themselves in a community; live and work alongside the people you’re helping, may contact GK at 533­2217, and www.gk1world.com/home MIMS